Dealer's choice: Could John Dorsey make another splash on night 1 of draft?

Dorsey has made 17 trades since taking over as GM, 8 have involved picks

Daryl Ruiter
April 24, 2019 - 6:20 pm

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan


Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns are among four teams that will enter Thursday night’s NFL Draft without a first-round pick.

The Saints, Bears and Cowboys will also be spectators after dealing their picks away.   

It’ll be the first time since 2008 the franchise takes round 1 off, that is assuming general manager John Dorsey doesn’t pull another rabbit out of his hat and trade back in – which is not out of the realm of possibility.

It’s quite the 180 from what we’re used to in Cleveland where the NFL Draft became the lifeblood and lone ray of light for fans caught in a vicious cycle of hopelessness and disappointment when the season rolled around every fall.

In 16 short months Dorsey has taken a franchise the collected draft picks and cap space as quickly as they collected losses and turned it into a legitimate contender not only in the AFC North but the conference and even perhaps the NFL, and in that process, he sacrificed his first rounder this year to do it.

Dorsey used the 17th overall pick last month in a package that also included No. 95, safety Jabrill Peppers and right guard Kevin Zeitler to land Pro Bowlers Olivier Vernon and Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York football Giants in what could end up being the trade of the millennium.

That trade washed away any thought of yet another lengthy, painful multi-year plan to return the franchise to prominence and swiftly kicked open the door of contention.

The window to compete for a Super Bowl is wide open and with key players like Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Baker Mayfield on rookie deals combined with the impending expiration of the current CBA after the 2020 season, the time is now to go for it. 

The Browns are hardly a finished product, even with the starting 22 pretty much spoken for heading into training camp in late July, and Dorsey knows this, but he will enter this draft looking to deepen what is arguably the most talented roster in the division, if not the AFC.

To do that Dorsey will likely do what he does best this weekend – wheel and deal.

As the Browns’ GM loves to say, his phone is always on, buddy boy.

In six drafts as a general manager, Dorsey has made 18 trades involving draft picks (h/t writer Nick Shook) and since taking over the Browns Dorsey has swung a total of 17 trades with eight of them involving draft picks. Dorsey had two other trades nullified because of failed physicals or that number would be higher.

Dorsey is armed with eight picks – No. 49 in round 2, No. 80 in round 3, 119 in round 4, 144, 155 and 170 in round 5, 189 in round 6 and 221 in round 7 with three of those selections (144, 170 and 221) the proceeds from previous trades.

The odds of him using all eight picks in their current slots are next to none.

Dorsey’s phone has been ringing with inquiries as to the availability of linebacker Joe Schobert, a 2017 Pro Bowler, according to The’s Albert Breer, but with a thin linebacker corps as it is combined with a less than stellar crop of prospects at the position available in the draft, it’s hard to believe Dorsey would deal Schobert away unless he is blown away by an offer.

Running back Duke Johnson Jr., unhappy with a potential reduced role once Kareem Hunt can play football again starting Nov. 10 against Buffalo, wants out and this weekend Dorsey is in position to grant his wish.

Despite Dorsey’s assertions that Johnson has a “vital” role within the offense this year under first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens and offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the reality is that neither Dorsey nor Kitchens or Monken want unhappy campers in their locker room. Not when they are working 24/7 to build off 7-8-1 and rid the organization of the stench of 4-44 as well as 20 years of incompetence, volatility and record-smashing losing.

So, Johnson will go – and probably this weekend – but on Dorsey’s terms and in a way that helps him improve the roster.

What would it take for Dorsey to get back into round 1 Thursday night?

Well, if you go buy the value charts typically used by NFL GMs, Dorsey could probably get away with sending No. 49, a 2020 second rounder and a sweetener like Johnson or another mid-round pick, of which Dorsey has plenty, out in the deal.

The best option for Dorsey would be to sneak into the back end of the opening round so he secures that all important rookie contract fifth-year option.

It takes two to tango and Dorsey has plenty of candidates for trade partners.

The Oakland Raiders, who have three picks – Nos 4, 24 and 27, would make perfect sense but first-year GM Mike Mayock may want to use them to lay the foundation for the franchise, which moves to Las Vegas next year, going forward.

Green Bay has No. 30, acquired from New Orleans. The Packers also own the 12th selection.

The Super Bowl champion Patriots have a total of 12 picks in this draft, including the 32nd making them a perfect partner to deal with. Cleveland and New England have done several deals over the years including sending Josh Gordon, Danny Shelton, Barkevious Mingo to the Pats and acquiring Jamie Collins (cut in February) from them. The only trade Bill Belichick declined to do with the Browns was the big one – quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was sent to San Francisco for a second-round pick.

Once the Ravens make their pick at 22 things could get interesting for Dorsey and the Browns.

So, while round one of the draft will likely be a much deserved night off in April for Browns fans, don’t go to bed early because with Dorsey running the show, everything is on the table and anything is possible Thursday night.